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From #MeToo to Debunking Fake News

Panel Discussion Addressed Timely Issue

Four female panelists and moderatorIssues such as equal pay, fake news, #MeToo, sexual harassment, and sexual assault are now squarely in the public conscience. But does this mean that American society is ready to have a constructive conversation about its treatment of all women?

Nearly 50 Chicago alumni and friends gathered over delicious refreshments April 18 at Savage Smyth to contemplate this question. "From #MeToo to Debunking Fake News: How Women are Shaping Media and Journalism Today" brought together a stellar panel of media professionals who reflected on today’s culture shift, and how the voices of women are changing the status quo.

Regional Council member Andrew Lines ’99 (VPA) opened the program and introduced the panel: Lorraine Branham, dean of the Newhouse School; Marissa Bailey G’06, co-anchor at Chicago’s CBS 2; Catherine Johns, executive coach and one of the first female radio talk show hosts in the nation; and Seema Mehta, award-winning political writer for the Los Angeles Times.

Moderator Leah Hope ’89 (Newhouse), an award-winning reporter for Chicago’s ABC 7, led a wide-ranging discussion.

Topics included:

  •  The changing face of America’s newsrooms.
  •  How diverse are their decision-makers?
  •  Does diversity in hiring affect reporting on #MeToo, equal pay, etc.?
  •  The impact of GenZ on journalism.

The panelists’ conversation combined personal reflection, professional insight, and calls for more change going forward. Guests chimed in with their own thought-provoking questions and comments.

Audience enjoying the panel discussion

“Syracuse University is well-positioned to play a meaningful role in bringing change to the news industry,” Lines said in closing. “We thank the incredible women on our panel for an insightful and meaningful conversation about this important issue. We look forward to continuing that conversation.”

Jointly presented by the Chicago Regional Council and the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, the evening was made possible through the generous support of the Chicago alumni network.

To make a gift in support of events like this, contact Nate LaFrance ( or 315.380.9602.